Should we see an ear, nose and throat specialist for my mother's issues with taste?

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 02, 2010
Terri h. asked...

My mother had recent surgery for lung cancer. She is not taking chemo and the surgery appears to have gotten all of the tumor. Just before she was diagnosed, she was experiencing a change in taste; she says nothing tastes right, and foods she's always enjoyed now appear to make her nauseous. Should she go to an ear-nose-throat specialist? This is keeping her from eating well and she's losing weight. She's in her mid-seventies.

Expert Answers

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Rather than starting with an ear, nose and throat specialist, it's probably a better idea to contact your mother's primary care physician and ask for an appointment. At that appointment, describe your mother's symptoms and ask if there are additional tests that should be performed, particularly tests for recurrent, or metastatic cancer. You should also ask that your mother's complaints be brought to the attention of her oncologist.

Even though she has completed cancer treatment, your mother needs to be monitored to make sure that her cancer has not recurred, or spread to other organs. Nausea, loss of appetite, and weight loss can be a sign that cancer has spread to the liver or other areas, so you want to be sure your mother's thoroughly checked out.